A Short History of the International Economy, 1850-1950

A Short History of the International Economy, 1850-1950

A Short History of the International Economy, 1850-1950

A Short History of the International Economy, 1850-1950

Excerpt

To attempt to write within a small compass the history of the economic interrelations of the various parts of the world in the last hundred years is an undertaking that combines the hazards of novelty and wide scope. But experience in teaching the subject to undergraduates who were often over-conscious of its magnitude and puzzled by some of its intricacies has persuaded me that a book on this theme could, in spite of inevitable omissions, serve a useful purpose. It is with the needs of university students in their second or later years that I have been chiefly concerned when writing, but I have also hoped that the work might be of some value to the general reader with a lively interest in the process of historical development and the nature of modern society. The subject is of commanding importance, by reason of its great formative influence on the conditions of living in almost every part of the world, and an acquaintance with it is an essential part of any realistic attempt to understand international relations.

The word 'international' has come to be used, not only in its literal sense of 'between nations', but also with the meaning 'common to many nations', and the size of my task was increased because it seemed necessary to take account of both senses. International economic relations have been profoundly affected by growing similarities of organization in the leading commercial countries, and a discussion of how and why some of these similarities developed is therefore highly relevant to the central themes of the creation of a world economy and the changes in the ways in which it functioned. Detailed consecutive treatment of the internal economic history of particular countries I have regarded as being outside the scope of the present book. It is, of course, both impossible and undesirable to avoid continual reference to aspects of internal economic development in many lands, but I have been concerned simply with their relation to the growth and working of a world economy.

The book is in three main parts. The first two chapters show how from small beginnings world production rapidly expanded . . .

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